The moment you place any type of cover over the crop, whether it is netting or plastic, you drastically modify the microclimatic conditions, which consequently affects the physiological behavior of the plant. These changes can be positive or negative. Everything will depend on the technical qualities of the chosen cover and the subsequent management of the crop and the cover.
Agricover© is a fabric laminated on both sides which, unlike those laminated on a single side, prevents dust and humidity from penetrating in the fabric. This feature makes it possible for the cover to allow more light through for a longer period of time.
It achieves a light transmission rate of 86-90% between 600-800 nm, which are the fundamental wavelengths for photosynthesis. The combination of polymers used to make it helps prevent the rapid loss of light transmission, losing a maximum of 1.5% to 2% annually. It also allows a high percentage of UV radiation transmission, thereby facilitating the activity of pollinating insects.
The cover's light diffusion transforms the direct light that naturally reaches the foliage into diffuse light. This makes it possible to illuminate areas of the plants that would otherwise remain in shade, increasing the efficiency of net photosynthesis and providing uniformity in plant development and fruit ripening. Uniform fruit ripening makes it possible to harvest more in one go, with the consequent savings in labor costs.
Light diffusion and, therefore, the diffusion of radiation avoids excessive heating of the upper part of the plant, because it evenly distributes the radiation. This leads to improvements in the firmness, color and sugar content of the fruits.
Thanks to the high level of diffused light produced, Agricover© also results in up to 25-30% water and fertilizer savings, given the reduction in crop evapotranspiration.
Another characteristic of the product is its anti-freeze effect. Agricover© blocks an average of 86.2% of long wave IR and this considerably reduces the effect of thermal inversion, keeping the mass under the cover at a higher temperature than the surrounding air.
This effect leads to greater sap flow at the beginning of spring which, if maintained, accelerates the development processes and, therefore, the crops' earliness. Depending on the geographical area and the variety, harvesting can be advanced by 4 to 10 days, which is essential to obtain a higher price for the fruit on the market.
Agricover© also has an excellent resistance to wind breakage. In research carried out at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, it has been demonstrated that it can withstand wind shocks of up to 120 km/h.
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